2017 has been off to an amazing start for the Sweatshop Free campaign, with every University and College in Scotland joining Electronics Watch, an independent labour monitoring organisation that works to ensure the ICT purchased by universities and other public sector bodies is produced in fair conditions. That’s built on the 9 universities from England and Wales that have were already members.
However, labour rights violations continue unabated in much of the electronics industry. Low pay, forced overtime, discrimination against migrants, agency workers and women, lack of protection for workers using dangerous chemicals are the norm across electronics sweatshop. International electronics brands have failed to ensure their workers are guaranteed decent work.
One of the worst offenders has been Samsung, who refuse to allow workers to form trade unions and stand accused of causing the deaths of factory workers due to exposure to toxic chemicals without adequate protection.
That’s why this Fair Trade Fortnight, from February 27th to March 12th, students across the UK and Ireland will be taking action against sweatshop labour, holding global corporations to account and pushing their universities to make their ICT supply chains ethical.
1. HELP US CAMPAIGN ON TWITTER
- Tweet your solidarity with sweatshop workers on the hashtag #SweatFree2017
- From February 27th, the giant corporations that produce our electronics are coming together for a conference in Barcelona. Let the attendees know that students in the UK and Ireland won’t stand for worker rights abuses in the production of our electronics by tweeting on #MWC2017
- Tweet @samsunguk calling on them to abolish their no-union policy
2. PUT PRESSURE ON YOUR UNIVERSITY TO AFFILIATE TO ELECTRONICS WATCH
Hold a stall to raise awareness of the issues in global electronics supply chains
Plan a location with lots of passing trade such as outside the library or the SU building.
Get volunteers signed up to run the stall; use an online rota like doodle.com and brief all volunteers on the day.
Promote your stall in advance on social media, ask your SU to promote, put up posters.
Prepare your stall: with any materials you need
Follow up: make sure you contact any new campaign supporters about how they can get involved in your group and any other events and actions you’re organising
Launch a petition calling for your university to affiliate to Electronics Watch - Petitions are a great way of not only increasing awareness of your campaign objectives, but demonstrating how much support you’ve built.
Hold a demonstration outside your Vice Chancellor’s office
Reach out to other societies. Coalition building is integral to a strong movement, and this is a great opportunity to start building these bridges. Get in touch with anti-racist groups, feminist groups and other social justice societies to see if they would like to co-host it or come along.
Spread the word. Make sure you advertise your events at least a week before on social media, through the student’s union and any other channels you can think of. Create Facebook events, put up posters and get in touch with other societies asking them to advertise the week to their email lists. Make sure you remain active on social media throughout the week as well.
Tell the press. Identify press contacts in local and student media, and get in touch with them at least a week before a day of action with a press release. Think about radio, television and online sources as well as newspapers.
Banner drop - Drop a banner from a visible spot on campus to show you aren’t going away! Try and find somewhere interesting or creative to drop it from, get great photos, send them everywhere.
3. ORGANISE AN ACTION OUTSIDE A STORE SELLING SAMSUNG GOODS
Samsung operate a blanket no-union policy across their supply chain. A coalition of groups across the world have come together to resist and get that policy abolished. Organise an action outside of a Samsung store, or one which sells Samsung products to call for them to allow workers to organise! E-mail us to find out where your nearest store is!